Verizon gave up an exclusive mobile streaming deal with the National Football League (NFL) in exchange for the chance to push the content to its new Yahoo assets.
In one of the first full uses of the assets, which it acquired for $4.48 billion in June, the operator agreed a new five year deal enabling it to distribute games via eligible Verizon apps regardless of the mobile network viewers use. The operator formerly had sole streaming rights for mobile devices via the NFL Mobile app.
Starting in 2018, Verizon’s digital and mobile properties will have access to in-market and national football games, including pre-season and playoff games as well as the Super Bowl. The games will be available on both Verizon’s Yahoo and Yahoo Sports properties, along with the go90 and NFL Mobile apps.
Reuters reported Verizon is paying $2.25 billion for the streaming rights.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called the deal “great for fans,” adding the ability to stream “live NFL action directly on your mobile device – regardless of carrier – will give millions of fans additional ways to follow their favourite sport.”
Verizon indicated the multi-property distribution strategy will help the NFL games reach a monthly mobile audience of more than 200 million US viewers.
The new distribution agreement comes on the heels of content deals by rivals T-Mobile US and Sprint. In September, T-Mobile began offering free Netflix as an add-on to its unlimited plan. Sprint followed with a promotion offering unlimited customers free access to Hulu content in November.